A more innovative China plays "leading" role in developing AI, big data, says scholar

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China has started to play a "leading" role in development in such areas as AI (artificial intelligence) and big data as the country is transforming from a labor-intensive economy to a greener and more innovative one, said a leading scholar.

Over the past decade, China's economy has been in a transition from high-speed growth to high-quality growth, said Yike Guo, professor of computing science at Imperial College London and founding director of the college's Data Science Institute.

China, the world's second largest economy, is now striving to develop new industries, such as the Internet industry, AI, and big data, Guo told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

It is transforming from heavy reliance on labor-intensive industries like manufacturing industry to more knowledge-intensive industries, Guo said.

"The rapid growth in China's emerging industries apparently shows that China's entire economy has grown from the stage of following western economies into one where it starts to play a leading role," he said.

"To some degree, China has taken the lead in many sectors, especially in AI sector and big data sector, in which China has ranked No. 1 in investment, far more than America and Europe," Guo said.

The emerging industries also gave rise to huge social structural changes which may not easily be copied by other countries, he said.

"China's payment system, financial system and the like are changing very fast, driven by AI and big data," Guo said.

But he emphasized that taking the lead in those sectors means China shares the responsibility to make sure that those new technologies make a better life for humans while avoiding damage and harms.

"Every technology has two sides, while it brings benefits to humans, it could do harms too. China has the responsibility for explaining how new technologies could affect our society and the moral lives of humans," Guo said.

"For example, we have taken the lead in 5G (the 5th generation wireless systems) now, but people need to know how this technology impacts their health, daily lives and future development, and more importantly, what adjustments we need to make to avoid its negative impacts," he said.

Talking about the future development of those new technologies, Guo said that all the new technologies should be aimed at securing a better life for humans and a better and more harmonious society while trying to reduce consumption of natural resources.

"When developing those new technologies, governments need to take a long-term perspective to make sure that humans could live a happy life in a more fair, efficient society coexisting with the nature harmoniously," he added.

 

Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn